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Calling a Curfew - A Citizens' State of Emergency

The AAB called a citizens' state of emergency in resistance to police violence. The lockdown symbolized the imposing of a citizens' curfew in the white, upscale neighborhood of Mt. Adams.
JUN. 2 - At an organizing meeting on Friday night Anti-Authoritarian Block (AAB) organizers outlined a plan to do a lockdown in the Mt. Adams area of Cincinnati.

Black community leaders had previously criticized white youths -- some from outside Cincinnati -- for disrupting the anti-Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue protests in the city last November. Organizers for the June 2nd March on Justice suggested that the AAB should protest in white areas. AAB organizers were very concerned about possible police recriminations in black neighborhoods. They agreed to respect march organizers' requests and build solidarity by holding a separate action.

Organizers planned a lockdown action in Mt. Adams, an upscale white neighborhood. Mt. Adams was not held to a curfew during the rebellions after the killing of Timothy Thomas in April. The AAB called a citizens' state of emergency in resistance to police violence. The lockdown symbolized the imposing of a citizens' curfew in the white, upscale neighborhood of Mt. Adams.

After a March for Justice of three thousand during the day, 100 direct-action activists gathered in Seasongood Pavillion in Eden Park by 6:00 pm. They marched a short distance to Mt. Adams.

Ten minutes later the protesters blocked the intersection at St. Gregory and Hatch. About fifty officers quickly surrounded the protestors on all sides. Several had rifles. Police warned that arrests would be made unless protestors cleared the intersection. After conferring, protestors moved to the sidewalks and linked arms.

David, a writer for Street Vibes (a newspaper by a homeless coalition in Cincinnati), began loudly criticizing the police presence and their prior behavior. At this point Assistant Chief Janke ordered officers to arrest David.

Police moved in and began pulling away several activists from the larger group. They arrested several women, forcing them to the ground. Once they were face-down, the officers pepper-sprayed them. Several were retching from the treatment and had very red faces. In a matter of minutes, twelve persons were arrested.

Two Independent Media Center journalists observing the actions were arrested. Madhava from NYC-IMC asked police a number of times why he was being restrained from observing and was pushed away from the activists. He was arrested forcefully. Jay from DC-IMC was on the sidewalk and was beginning to walk away, per officers' orders, when he was grabbed without explanation and taken down by four police officers.

Chris of Chicago IMC was pushed from behind even though he was walking and was told to "go join your friends." Chris said, "I am walking." The officer responded, "No you are not. You are writing."

We asked Assistant Chief Janke why he ordered the arrests of nonviolent protesters on the sidewalks. He responded, "People were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking streets."

The arrests occurred after people had moved onto the sidewalks. Asked about the force used, he replied, "We had intelligence from a protester's flyer that destruction of property was intended." During the action AAB activists had repeatedly communicated to police that this protest was nonviolent.

It is ironic that a nonviolent protest against police brutality was shut down quickly by brutal police force. The lockdown was a symbolic victory in protesting the police violence in Cincinnati. The AAB youths demonstrated solidarity with the minority community by calling attention to the preferential treatment of whites.

Updates on arrested protesters are at ovimc.org.
 
 

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